APIs – What are They?
Now, unless you work in the industry or have a particular interest in software development you might not know what an API is. It stands for Application Programming Interface. It is essentially a piece of code (the building blocks of websites) that provides a set of functions and procedures. This then allows other applications to access data or features in another operating system or service.
Nowadays, dealing with many different APIs is not unheard of. With so many industries developing software, APIs have become even more important.
APIs Are Crucial
They allow different programs to “talk” to one another; in other words, they allow different systems to exchange information. There are lots of examples of these Application Programming Interface documents from both system-level and on the Web.
An API works by revealing some of the programs internal functions, making it possible to share data. Using them is a simplified method of “sharing code”, which, let’s face it, developers don’t like doing. APIs are often referred to as windows or doors; creating an opening and defining exactly how a program will interact with other software.
APIs are everywhere. Examples of them in use could be a Google Map on a business website indicating their location. Also, logging in to an app using your Facebook information is another common one. But, be wary! As APIs are for a particular program, which is owned by another business, there is always the potential for things to go wrong. Companies shutting down their services or shutting down completely could cause problems.
With an API, businesses can easily integrate software with the original program without having to work out how to do this solely within the code. This is a great time saver and also means fewer resources are used and reduces the potential legality issues.
Want to integrate a piece of software? Or want to find out more about APIs and how we can help you then get in touch here.